Almanac Cricket: Wake up Australia and play the game!


Three weeks ago I wrote an article under the title ‘36 into 11 won’t go’. A couple of days after that The Australian’s Will Swanton wrote an article under the headline ‘Dust of your bat, Aussie T20 caps going cheap’.


Today Monday 22nd of February, 2021 both Swanton and I have been vindicated when the Australian T20 team were thrashed by New Zealand in Christchurch by 53 runs with the Black Caps rolling the Aussies out for 131 with 3 overs to spare.


Not that I am saying “I told you so”.  The whole saga of Australian cricket has been filled to overflowing with a litany of selection and tour decisions during the  last few seasons and co-incidentally since sandpapergate.


As was suggested in my article we (Australia) did not have the number of cricketers capable of filling both a tour of South Africa and New Zealand at the same time. Which meant ,as Swanton so beautifully put it , ‘there was a time when only the cream of Australian cricket received the honour of a national cap’.


The biggest issue of this whole saga was the fact that two teams were heading overseas at the same time representing their country. A test team to South Africa (cancelled by CA) and a T20 to New Zealand.


From my humble perspective CA was paying lip-service to our friends under The Great White Cloud by even contemplating a trip there. Disrespect to a fine cricketing nation as well who will be playing for the World Champions Trophy in July while Australia twiddles their thumbs back home unless you are counting your dollars from the IPL.


Australia cancelled their tour of South Africa ostensibly because of the threat of COVID 19 although other countries have toured there.  This is not the first time that Australia has been at the forefront of cancelling tours in other countries as well as cancelling tours to Australia.  Think of Bangladesh and Afghanistan in particular.  We won’t cancel a tour against the ‘big boys’ such as India and England but the others will just have to wait.


South Africa were incensed with the decision, just when their team has a new look about it and both Bangladesh and Afghanistan certainly need Australia’s support if they wish to improve their game


Cricket’s finest writer Gideon Haigh has written at least two scathing articles criticising Australia and their inability to deliver to the up-coming cricket nations and I think it is time that CA took a bit of notice and forget about the almighty dollar that continues to wreak havoc with the game.


The IPL auction last week saw some players from Australia and New Zealand receive an extraordinary amount of money for their six week’s service.  New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson $2.65m (1/32 today from 3 overs and did not bat), Glenn Maxwell $2.5 m (1 run and 0 wickets today) and Jhye Richardson  $2.48m  (2/31 today with one ripper ball).  Riley Meredith on $1.42m could not get a game for Australia while the ‘old-man of Australian cricket’ Dan Christian ($849,000) cannot get a game anywhere.


What does this say about Australian cricket and perhaps cricket in India as well?


Is it not time that Australia stood up to the BCCI and the IPL and say ‘enough is enough’ our players must put Test cricket and Shield cricket ahead of everything else but I am afraid this old chestnut does not have dollar signs behind it!


Maxwell’s effort today looked like he had been counting his money all night likewise Jamieson which makes one think do they really want to play for their country. Probably would feel the same if I was receiving that much moola in a couple of months.


It will be interesting to see how Australia perform for the remainder of the games in New Zealand and will they pick their best team or just give everybody a game ‘who came for the ride’.


Justin Langer has not been happy with what is going on.  Then again he is only the coach.



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About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. Ta Bob, i’d like to have a sticky-beak at the articles by Gideon Haigh. Always very prescient.

    I got home from work to see Maxwell go out as i walked into the lounge. Stoinis? Mitch Marsh has played his knock for the series. Very poor.

    It’s been a theme of your recent article, with our responses. What is going on with Australian cricket? Yes we are beholden to the BCCI, as once we were beholden to the MCC.Yes the BBL, IPL, is the modern face of cricket as it is no longer a sport more a highly profitable component of the entertainment industry. However Australian cricket seems rudderless. Once the test tour of the Veldt was cancelled why not put a few of the squad into the journey to Aotearoa?

    Bob, i despair at the current direction of first class cricket, not just here but globally. With the advances in technology, who wants to sit in the sun for four-five days to see a no result, compared to a few hours of whizz-bang entertainment under lights, that ends in three or so hours? Without making first class cricket gimmicky, how do we get the crowds and the focus back? I read about the five test India V Pakistan series of 1960-61 in which all five tests were drawn. That’s light years from our reality.

    I can’t put forward any proposals, i can’t say ‘what is to be done’. I enjoy reading your posts, and the responses, though the power brokers of Australian cricket function in a parallel universe to us. Keep it up.


  2. GLEN – many thanks for your comments. Right on the money!
    If I was to prioritize my angst I would say that it is how easy it is to receive a “baggy green or its short game equivalent” without having to put runs/wickets on the board.
    What makes it more abhorrent and no disrespect to Dan Christian is that he can command a fee of $849,000 but cannot make a State Shield Team! If he is held in such high regard why is he not in New Zealand now?
    I do not have any proposals either but perhaps cricket lovers should form a forum like the AFL Supporters Group and hope that cricket Australia will LISTEN!

  3. Last night’s loss was a disgrace, Citrus!!

    What on earth was Wade doing keeping? His keeping days are done!!

    And if Unman is not in the 38 best cricketers in Australia, I will go “he” for tiggy.

  4. I formed the view many long years ago, that the form of the Australian Cricket team (it was the Australian test team back then) reflected the state of the nation. In the intervening years, nothing has occurred to make me change that view. And i feel sure that anyone who has been following the state of the nation under the current political regime would lean towards the same view.

    Life imitates sport.

  5. John Butler says

    CB, I don’t think we really need to blame the BCCI for our predicament. We’re doing it to ourselves.

    It is a farce that we aren’t touring South Africa. They had agreed to everything we demanded, and some of our demands looked well OTT. Whatever that decision was about, I doubt it was about player safety from the virus.

    Looking back at our cricket history, we have only rarely supported developing test countries. We usually chase the dollar.

    Anyone remember that cultural revue after Cape Town? Can anyone find a trace of it now?

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